Praying with icons can be similar to the ancient Christian prayer practice of lectio divina in many ways. Lectio Divina means “holy reading”. A short passage of Scripture is chosen, and read slowly, three times, meditating on a word or the entirety of the passage for at least several minutes in between each re-reading. The person remains open to the voice of God speaking to him or her through the Word.
To pray in a like manner with an icon, choose a holy image that draws you in some way. Simply sit in silence before it, perhaps holding it in your lap. Gaze at it–and allow it to gaze back at you. Remain open and attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in your heart. This form of prayer is quiet, contemplative, and responsive.
You might find yourself in dialogue with the person depicted in the icon, or simply rest in his or her presence. You might notice details, and if so, strive to be conscious of what they suggest to you. Which things resonate–and which things bother you? You might spend some time reflecting on this.
Listen with your heart to what God is telling you through the image, and respond in prayer.